We are delighted to present the following selection of images that celebrate and acknowledge Soneva’s 25-year history, specially curated by Eva Malmström Shivdasani, Soneva’s Creative Director and Founder.
This is Sonu and I during a visit to Kudahiti Island in the Maldives in 1988. It was long before we opened Soneva Fushi, but at this point we had already started to think about opening a resort. During this holiday we met Areef, the GM of Kudahithi, and became very good friends. He eventually joined us at Soneva Fushi and is still working with us today, in Food & Beverage. He is semi-retired and only works in the high season. Areef is certainly the person that Sonu and I have known the longest in the Maldives.
Soneva Fushi opens on the island of Kunfunadhoo, in the Maldives’ Baa Atoll, with 42 villas. It is the first luxury resort, and also introduces the first spa to the island nation.
In 1996, By the Beach becomes the first fine dining restaurant in the Maldives. It is also the first year Sonu is Santa Claus at Soneva Fushi (until 1999). We began phasing out helicopters with seaplanes in 1997.
Soneva bans plastic straws and replaces them with paper straws, becoming one of the first hotels to do so. Cinema Paradiso becomes the Maldives’ largest movie screen.
Sonu and Eva build their private residence on Kunfunadhoo after living in Villa 27 for the past six years!
Soneva Fushi is awarded the ‘Best of the Best’ by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller UK and wins the President of the Maldives’ Green Resort Award. Sonu also gets his first modelling gig!
In 2001 Soneva Gili opens in the Maldives, redefining the over-water villa concept. Soneva Fushi wins the President of the Maldives’ Green Leaf Award for the Soneva Nature Trip.
Fresh in the Garden introduces the Maldives’ first suspension bridge. We also introduce the Social & Environmental Responsibility Fund (SERF), committing 0.5% of our revenue to community projects.
Soneva Fushi opens the first observatory and Eco Centro in the Maldives. We ban imported bottled water and start filtering our own, and introduce our Environmental Fund to offset our carbon emissions.
Soneva Fushi installs the largest solar plant in the Maldives and Soneva Kiri opens on Koh Kood in Thailand. Sonu and Eva win the Barclays Wealth Sustainable Award. The Soneva Foundation is founded in 2010.
Soneva wins the HICAP Sustainable Hotel Awards Corporate Leadership Award. The Soneva Foundation launches the Forest Restoration Project in Thailand. The third SLOW LIFE Symposium takes place. Soneva reaches carbon neutral status for direct and indirect emissions in 2012.
WHOLE WORLD Water, from the 2011 SLOW LIFE Symposium, is launched in 2013.
The first SLOWLIFE magazine is printed in 2014, and the Art and Glass Studio at Soneva Fushi opens, becoming the only hot glass studio in the Maldives. Work begins on Soneva Jani in 2015.
Soneva Jani opens in 2016 and the Soneva Dialogue takes place, with HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden as the patron. Soneva in Aqua sets sail in the Maldives in 2017.
The Soneva Water plant opens on the Maldivian island of Maalhos and Soneva Namoona is launched. Soneva holds its first Soneva Surf Pro. Soneva Fushi begins its Zero Mosquito Project. In 2020 Soneva celebrates 25 years of sustainability with Water Retreats at Soneva Fushi and Chapter Two of Soneva Jani.
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